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Fishguard Harbour North-West Fish Trap

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Map ReferenceSM93NW
Grid ReferenceSM9481038330
Unitary (Local) AuthorityPembrokeshire
Old CountyPembrokeshire
CommunityFishguard and Goodwick
PeriodPost Medieval
The fishtraps of Fishguard Harbour, Goodwick.

Fishguard has a Scandanavian name fiskigardr (`enclosure for catching or keeping fish?). The commercial port of Fishguard Harbour at Goodwick was largely constructed towards the end of the nineteenth century and the start of the twentieth. Two stone-built fish traps flank the north and south sides of Fishguard Harbour, Pembrokeshire.

The fish trap to the north-west of Fishguard Harbour (NPRN 407699) lies just below the entrance road to the ferry terminal. It is first shown on the early maritime charts of Lewis Morris dating from 1748, and is depicted on the first edition Ordnance Survey 25in map of 1889 as an inverted 'V'-shaped submerged stone wall, adjoining coastal rocks north of the village of Goodwick at its west end. It extends for approximately 100 metres to the east into Fishguard Harbour and turns to the south for approximately 120m. The east-west section was destroyed by construction of the railway between 1901 and 1906. The hooked portion of the trap is locally renowed as a good place to catch Bass which gather there to feed on the crab population.

Aerial photographs taken through clear shallow water on 1st June 2009 (AP_2009_1382-87) showed remains of other submerged walls and structures to the south-west of this trap of unknown date and character (NPRN 409081). This trap is related to a smaller V-shaped fish trap on the south-east side of the harbour, which has never been recorded on maps or charts (NPRN 401338).

The south-east fishtrap (NPRN 401338), filmed for BBC Wales? Hidden Histories in 2009, is a 'V'-shaped stone-built fishtrap, springing from coastal rocks on its south side. It measures approximately 34m from base to apex, with equally-spaced arms measuring 40m long and up to 9m broad. It is built from large boulders, now partly dispersed with a few smaller stones visible in the matrix. The trap is only exposed at the lowest tides, of 0.5m and under. It is likely that a build-up of sand behind (to the west, beach-side of) the trap may have obscured further parts making it considerably larger. Because of the present sea-level it would be difficult to regularly use and make repairs to this fish trap, and this might indicate a construction date back in the Middle Ages, or earlier. This trap is not mapped on any sea-charts or historic maps, unlike its counterpart on the north-west side of Fishguard Harbour (NPRN 407699). The site was discovered and photographed through shallow water during Royal Commission aerial reconnaissance.

sources include:
Ordnance Survey, 1889, First edition 25inch
National Assembly of Wales, 2009, vertical AP
RCAHMW, 2009, AP_2009_1382-87

T. Driver, RCAHMW, 28th October 2009

application/pdfDAT - Dyfed Archaeological Trust ReportsDigital report on Medieval and Early Post-Medieval Fish Traps: A Threat-Related Assessment 2012. Produced by D.A.T. for Cadw: Report No. 2012/59 Project No. 102815.